Author Archives: admin

Bourdieu and the Structuring of Agency

I have long been of the view that theorists and theories overlap and that being overly faithful to any particular ones can constrain and even lead one astray (this notwithstanding the regular use I have made of the likes of Habermas, Bhaskar and Archer). What each theorist must do is: (a) come to terms with,… Read More »

Bourdieu in Paris: Universities and a ‘Habitus of Compliance’

There are few more amenable groups to belong to than those run by my Norwegian friends and colleagues, and few more attractive places to meet than the student quarter in Paris. My brief was open but I chose to talk about the potential for a macro- through meso- to micro-sociological analysis of the deleterious changes… Read More »

A Third Open Letter to my CLP Secretary

Dear Colleague, I appreciate that you, our local CLP secretary, will not welcome a third open letter from me, but on the other hand: (a) you do not respond to my emails; (b) despite being a fully paid up member I have had no communication whatsoever from you in 2017; and (c) nothing has changed… Read More »

Badiou on the World’s Destitute

In his latest offering, Our Wound is not so Recent, Badiou rightly insists that there is a salient, explanatory history to ‘terrorist attacks’ such as that in Paris on 13 November 2015. He writes: ‘… there are some fundamental figures that everyone should know, that everyone should have at hand, figures that underlie what we… Read More »

Clive James in Cambridge

I have been asked for my autograph once, when I travelled with a Worthing High School VII to Llanelli to participatre in a Sevens competition (we went out to a local team captained by Phil Bennett). I was embarrassed by the attention but managed a signature of sorts. I have however signed a few books… Read More »

Facing up to Obstacles to Social Mobility

This is (most of) the concluding paragraph of Geoff Payne’s The New Social Mobility, and it warrants drawing to people’s attention: The problem is that policies that would work quickly and powerfully are politically unpalatable. Resistance to reforms aiming to improve gender equality in pay and employment, especially in the higher reaches of companies, provides… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 68 – Auschwitz

On the 1st of September, 2006, I gave a paper on ‘reducing health inequalities’ to the biannual meeting of the European Society for Health and Medical Sociology in Krakow. To be honest I was less than impressive. I recall wishing afterwords that I’d been more articulate, more on the ball, not least because old friend… Read More »

Mental Health and Tackling Stigma

The attention publicly devoted to mental illness is far from being matched by properly funded treatment and care. Nor, it seems, has it shaken off an overly long history of cultural shaming and blaming. In this brief contribution I focus in particular on the stigma that still sticks like glue to many diagnoses of mental… Read More »

Sociological Theorists: Niklas Luhmann

What to my mind Luhmann exposes, after the manner of Parsons’ structural functionalism and the American neofunctionalists who walked and still walk in his footsteps, is that key mechanisms at the level of social strata impact beneath-the-surface or behind-our-backs. As absent presences, they can escape reflexive interrogation. In his The Differentiation of Society he argued… Read More »

Paul Mason: A Postcapitalist Future?

While working on my book – Health Inequalities in a Fractured Society: a Critical Realist Account (Routledge, Forthcoming) – I found it helpful to refer to Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, published in 2015. He offers an account of how his analysis might be translated into a ‘project’ for a postcapitalist society,… Read More »